politics

Okinawa base referendum may deal nationwide electoral blow to Abe

39 Comments
By Satoshi Iizuka

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"Nonaka pointed out Abe may be focused primarily on the survival of his administration."

There you go. Mr. Nonaka got it so right. That's all it is about, keep those cushy seats.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

The headline is just wishful thinking - unfortunately nothing will change.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

The outcome of a referendum in Okinawa showing that a vast majority of locals oppose a plan to transfer

But only slightly more than half of the "locals" bothered voting. So it doesn't show that a vast majority of them oppose anything.

Certain politicians, along with a media sympathetic to their cause, seem to like to portray an image of "massive public opposition" to U.S. bases in Okinawa.

But how massive can that opposition be, when only about half the "locals" bothered to turn up for this vote?

-14 ( +4 / -18 )

The guy was involved in a major scandal and is still here. Trust me, this issue won't change anything.......unfortunately.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

But how massive can that opposition be, when only about half the "locals" bothered to turn up for this vote?

Or, to flip that around, how important can the US bases be to Okinawans if all these supposed supporters can’t be bothered to vote?

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Yet the "pro-base" Okinawa people did not turn out as well. The non binding nature of the election is the reason for the "low" turnout in the election. Yet the Americans and Japanese are missing the big picture. Spin it any way you like, a large percentage of the Okinawa people are against the new airfield. Another fact is the American bases while large are not enough to prevent a Chinese invasion of Okinawa.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Okinawa base referendum may deal nationwide electoral blow to Abe

We can but hope!

7 ( +11 / -4 )

JenniSchiebelToday 04:57 pm JST

The outcome of a referendum in Okinawa showing that a vast majority of locals oppose a plan to transfer

But only slightly more than half of the "locals" bothered voting. So it doesn't show that a vast majority of them oppose anything.

Certain politicians, along with a media sympathetic to their cause, seem to like to portray an image of "massive public opposition" to U.S. bases in Okinawa.

But how massive can that opposition be, when only about half the "locals" bothered to turn up for this vote?

I guess it's like when only a bit over 50% turn out for elections and the ldp / Abe wins by a "massive landslide", but on closer inspection we find only 24% of the total electorate support Abe.

In the Okinawa case the credibility of the vote exceeds far far more than political party support votes.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

The outcome of a referendum in Okinawa showing that a vast majority of locals oppose a plan to transfer...

Population of Okinawa Island -  ‎1,301,462 (Dec. 2014)

Voters who voted "NO" in referendum - 434,273

434,273 / ‎1,301,462 = 33%

Author Satoshi Iizuka seems to not understand what a "vast majority" is. That or he chose to lie in his opening line out of bias. Either way, Kyodo could use better writers if this level of irresponsible journalism is typical of their service.

-15 ( +3 / -18 )

Lol I predicted as much. So much for democracy ei?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

USNinJapan2 this number includes non voting people like the young and elderly. One third of the entire population voting against the new airfield is a overwhelming number! In the last US Presidential election only 61 million Americans out of 325 million voted for Trump. So by the way of your thinking only 1/6 of the American people voted for Trump making the election invalid. About 1/3 rd of all of the Okinawa people voted against the new airfield.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

yeah, nah

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Okinawa, Russia, North Korea etc. if they are settled in a very good condition, it will give large and positive impact on the elections. While even if they are not solved, I don't think they will give large impact on them, since our expectation toward them is already low enough.

Altough all these issues are substantially related to the Constitution of Japan, especailly to the Article 9, motivation of the Japanese to modify it is too low, which implies that they are not interested to these issues.

The largest and maybe the sole issue they care is ecconomy, and at least for now, the govt has treated things well. Damages from US-China conflict, or Brexit and +2% consumption tax could give substantial impact to the elections.

Impacts from other issues only depens on how they are broadcasted. e.g. "Mori Kake Spa"

If you are an Japanese or those who lived long in Japan, you knew this, right?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Abe is fixated on the Korean threat, so let's move this base to where it belongs, Yamaguchi-ken. Lot's of space so no need to destroy beautiful coral reefs. I am sure Abe's constituents will enjoy the extra jobs and American soldiers, and soon get used to the sound of jets screaming overhead.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Population of Okinawa Island - ‎1,301,462 (Dec. 2014)

Voters who voted "NO" in referendum - 434,273

434,273 / ‎1,301,462 = 33%

Author Satoshi Iizuka seems to not understand what a "vast majority" is. That or he chose to lie in his opening line out of bias. Either way, Kyodo could use better writers if this level of irresponsible journalism is typical of their service.

By the same token, the YES vote only managed 114,000 votes so if we were to use your numbers and reasoning ...less than 10% of Okinawa,s population supports the new base. Regardless of the spin and statistics games the one remaining fact is that Okinawans overwhelmingly disagree with the current relocation plan. Thats a fact.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

The guy was involved in a major scandal and is still here. Trust me, this issue won't change anything.......unfortunately.

Sadly I have to agree with you, he is like a teflon coat you can,t get rid off.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

abe , prime mister, it is time u accept the choice of yr people. Force is old edo style. How old are U ???.

u are not too old to learn, that u have to care abt yr citizens before even u are lost. U are showing clear disrespect of yr people. Why ???.because u are afraid of trump ???.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Everyone knows this is not going to change jack nationwide. For mainland Japanese,Okinawa is like a step-brother and people aren't going to make a fuss beyond shoganai,if that.If Abe could survive all his other bigger scandals and still win comfortably election time,what fantasy blow will he be dealt then? It won't happen.He has no credible opposition or challenger in his party.He'll keep extending his term in office.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@ cracaphat

He has no credible opposition or challenger in his party.He'll keep extending his term in office.

Wise words by Cracaphat. Voters see the strength in PM Abes lion-like leadership, and the mouse-like weakness of opposition parties. This Professor Nonaka seems really out of touch. Okinawa base issue is an issue for Okinawa, not mainland.

PM Abe to stay the course until 2026.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Okinawa base referendum may deal nationwide electoral blow to Abe

News was still hot in Okinawa today; gone by next week. Won't affect Abe or the Central gov't in the least.

The referendum was like a one-sided campaign for a dictator; loud-speakers on vans blaring all day for almost a month, without any opposing view.

On referendum day, it rained. No one really cared except those invested in Tamaki and many supporters of the late Gov. Onaga to support an issue dear to his heart.

The referendum had nothing to do with US Bases. Rightly so, because Okinawan families and businesses in the hundreds of thousands are directly or indirectly employed or dependent on the bases. Even some major Malls. If their employment, livelihood and businesses were put to the test, the outcome would have been overwhelmingly different.

The referendum was about the runaway on the seabed at an existing USMC base, Camp Schwab in Henoko, Nago, Okinawa. Naha Airport's second runway on Senaga Island currently being constructed, along with other major reclamation projects including many roadways and bridges, are not free of ecological concerns. As long as construction does not create debris, nobody really cares. Plenty of ocean and sea life around.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Since referenda are nonbinding here, why not just call them the "just-kiddings"?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Voters see the strength in PM Abes lion-like leadership, and the mouse-like weakness of opposition parties. PM Abe to stay the course until 2026.

more rat-like to me consider the tactics the use forcing through everything.

Hopefully not another 1-2years, his real enemies are already sharpening the knifes behind his back

and those enemies are not even sitting in the opposition, his own LDP/Kaigi people will throw him under the bus as soon they see the chance for replacing him with a less scandal ridden puppet.

.

The US Base problems ( its not just "a Okinawa" problem !) will be still burden all politicans until then, heavier and heavier.... until its really solved.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"The referendum could be a turning point for voters across the country to again realize Abe's politics, hurting the reputation of his administration," Tanifuji said.

Not a chance.

There is a saying: all politics are local. Okinawa is Okinawa, and the base issue there will have no effect across the nation.

Besides, who would people vote for?!?! The opposition parties are in complete disarray and have no dynamic, inspiring leaders. Honestly, can anyone name the leader of any of the opposition parties?!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Japan, regain your sovereignty and tell the US to remove its basis from Japanese soil: end US occupation!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

If Abe is able to outlive the numerous scandals that have plagued his administration so far, does anyone actually think that THIS, non-binding referendum will make a difference?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

zones2surfToday  09:42 pm JST

Besides, who would people vote for?!?! The opposition parties are in complete disarray and have no dynamic, inspiring leaders.

More importantly they don't have candidates in a lot of elections. With the LDP managing to run almost three hundred in the last lower house election compared to around sixty for the CDPJ, in many cases there is literally no one else to vote for, or no one else with any realistic prospect of being in the next government.

Honestly, can anyone name the leader of any of the opposition parties?!

I think quite a few people could name Yukio Edano of the CDPJ, Kazuo Shii of the JCP and Yuichiro Tamaki of the DPP. It's true that none of them are all that dynamic or inspiring, but honestly - is Shinzo Abe?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The American forces did a lot for the people of Okinawa back in the day. they quick to forget. The japanese soldiers of the Imperial forces forced the okinawan people to commit suicide after the U.S. won. It is too bad that region of Japan (okinawa) couldn't do more to harmonize with the American soldiers. Too bad more servicemen couldn't have found nice spouses and made better communities. Comminities were they can respect one another. I bet their economy will be effected when the U.S. leaves. It is a shame most places just uses the U.S. for finances, but never wants to really mix with some of us. especially if we are already deluded by some standards.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

If you've never LIVED in Okinawa, you don't know.

"Escape from New York" (Tokyo)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Okinawa doesn't belong to Abe, as simple as that.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

YuriOtani, marcelito

Nothing you've said makes the use of the words "vast majority of locals" in the opening line of this article any less false. It's an exaggeration at best, an outright lie at worse, and inexcusable from a journalist.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

But only slightly more than half of the "locals" bothered voting. So it doesn't show that a vast majority of them oppose anything.

This, to me would suggest that many people in Okinawa are just not bothered with the issue. And why should the be?

The base brings jobs, enhances the economy, for years the local population and USA forced have lived in relative harmony, and above all Japan is being protected. The residents of Okinawa are in a reasonable comfort zone. Why rock the boat?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Wow, only a quarter of the population even bothered to vote? That's a whole lotta people in Okinawa that just don't care if there is a base on their island or not. I'd say that's the real message from this referendum.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The American forces did a lot for the people of Okinawa back in the day. they quick to forget.

Cripes, how long are people going to keep on repeating this? I guess using your logic the US should be kissing France's butt for helping them during the revolution!

Get off it, it's over 70 years ago!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I guess using your logic the US should be kissing France's butt for helping them during the revolution!

Nah, after WWII, we figured that we were even ;-)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The people of Okinawa have clearly spoken.

Let's see if the democratic USA and Japan will respect the sacred will of the Ryukyuans and stop making Okinawa the Crimea of Asia.

After all , democratic states must listen and obey the sacred voice of the people.

Abe must follow and be guided by John Wycliffe wise words ... “The Bible is for the Government of the People, by the People, and for the People”

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Hiro S Nobumasa, unfortunately, Japan has a fake democracy. Japan is of a few people, for a few people, and by a few people.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Hiro S. Nobumasa

The people of Okinawa have clearly spoken. = True statement.

A minority of the people of Okinawa have clearly spoken. = Truer statement.

The majority of the people of Okinawa either votes YES or don't care enough to vote on this issue. = Even truer statement.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

USNinJapan2:

The people of Okinawa clearly wants the giant military bases out.

The USA's insisting on stayin and building more bases against the Ryukyuan people's will is now legally called da-kine forced colonization thus makin Okinawa truly the Crimea of Asia.

All of the above are true statements.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The USA's insisting on stayin and building more bases against the Ryukyuan people's will is now legally called da-kine forced colonization thus makin Okinawa truly the Crimea of Asia.

The USA isn't insisting on anything. They are there as guests of the Japanese government. Take a look at the security agreement. All Japan has to do is ask the US to leave and they will be gone within one year. There's no 'forced colonization' or 'Crimea' nonsense. Give me a break.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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